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Her Space Holiday – XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival

Her Space Holiday – XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival (Mush)

Her Space Holiday

There’s not an awful lot to be said about Marc Bianchi‘s transformation from computer-wielder to guitar-slinger, because the record itself should be able to dictate whether or not this ballsy (apparently it’s ballsy, I’m not all that familiar with him) move was the right thing to do or not. Immediately, the tenets of an updated twee aesthetic crop up – tales told very firmly and sincerely from the foot of the bed, with cacky-sounding electric burbles every now and again. Because the aesthetic at no point graduates to anything more deserving of discussion than simply that, we are left to assume that the lyrical meat is worth the relative musical disinterest.

It’s a good thing, then, that Bianchi is in possession of a rare knack for making each of his throwaway intimations memorable – two kids in the back of class, making the telephone ring, biscuits and tea… these are things, all, designed at inciting the most personal reactions possible. They succeed for the most part, despite the odd clang. There’s a loose bookending structure to the album that is by no means very clever and, truth be told, slightly voided by the album’s sheer length. Fourteen songs is too long a gap to reintroduce an already-heard theme or motif, as we do on both the opening The New Kid Revival and the closing One For My Soul (Good Night). The bookending sentiment of youthful abandonment, of playing music at disgustingly loud levels just because you can, is a charming one, but one too thinly utilised across the whole record.

The undoubted highlight comes on the dreamy, almost sickly sweet My Crooked Crown. Taking the form of a love-letter (“signed XOXO Panda”, naturally), the well-worn thoughts are refreshed by funny turns of phrase and the simplest melody imaginable. For once, Bianchi’s hyper-personal intimations square right up to your face and engage, and it’s wonderful. The other striking tune comes in Two Tin Cans And A Length Of String, the abrasive nature of which, coupled with scattergun vocal delivery, is also very appealing. That it settles down into a pretty bounce so quickly after honking quite so defiantly is a mite disappointing, but the quality of that pretty bounce is high enough whereby you won’t mind. A convincing template for many of the songs here could be that that threaten to bite quite consistently, but usually lose confidence and settle for a little lick on the heel. Which is fine, but Bianchi would do well to bludgeon his audience as much as he dares – it could result in a more daring and rewarding release.

XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival is out now, more info here.

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K-the-i??? – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

 K-the-i??? – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (Mush)

k-the-i???

K-the-I??? comes across immediately in exactly the way intended and befitting of his musical persona – confrontational, rendered with loving detail and, above all, literate. Of course, it’d be demented to single out literacy as a defining trait, but the succinct deliveries fly by in such a manner that it’s difficult to describe it any other way. The opening gunshot buzz of 400 On The BPM reigns over a very fierce party. Our friend K gets violent when it comes to the beat and cajoling revellers to fucking follow it – he’s not in the business of making anyone feel comfortable. Within the taut exposition resides a candid reference to the devil, a figure that bookends the whole album. The closing Man Or Machine tells us “the devil, she plays to win”. It’s a dark fixation that informs the milieu of the whole record. 

Indeed, the production (courtesy of Saul Williams collaborator Thavius Beck) owes more to frantic IDM than it does to anything the RZA ever did. The energy in the beats simply never relents, in line with that of K-the-I???. Cell-Shaded/Daydreams/Nightmares seems preoccupied with existence, mulling and musing with little direction until the pivotal line “with every breath I take an earthquake takes place”. This line is delivered monotonously, carefully, so the listener has no choice but to prickle. It’s a simple, almost childlike emphasis, but when placed in contrast to the preceding Kerouacian stream of consciousness, its power is exceptional.

Highlights are everywhere on Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, one has only to pick out the odd line to locate a lyrical gem. “Never trendy Mandy / handy purple people eater / retreat it / leave it to beaver / I didn’t need her either” is purely ridiculous, and seemingly even more so when a sort of nucleus is reached on Lead The Floor: “life is what you make of it you idiot!”. Impossible to argue. Near-unstoppable, unbridled, assuredly and righteously disgusted energy seeps across all of these tracks. K-the-I??? makes bold steps alongside the likes of Saul Williams, emanating poetic flamboyance without becoming too confusing, but with enough motion and kinetic verve to satisfy even the most passive ear. With these tidbits, though, who on earth could possibly be passive? Full engagement is mandatory.

Visit the fella at his MySpace HERE. You’ll just love it! Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow is out already, the reviews are shit-hot.

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